At Georgia’s seven juvenile prisons, hundreds of surveillance cameras capture the daily violence and chaos that permeate the facilities. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution obtained videos of several incidents involving the use of force by corrections officers at the Sumter Youth Development Campus in Americus. The state Department of Juvenile Justice obscured the faces of juveniles in the videos.
» RELATED: Violence permeates youth prisons
» MORE: New chief vows cultural change in juvenile justice agency
» PREVIOUSLY: Deadly consequences: Murder case exposes a system's failings
An altercation in the gymnasium
After two youths engaged in excessive “horseplay,” which is not seen in the video, four officers entered Sumter’s gymnasium to remove one juvenile. The youth ended up in handcuffs following a scuffle with multiple officers. Then one officer struck the youth in the midsection with his knee and flipped him onto the floor. The officer resigned while under investigation for the inappropriate use of force.
A youth sitting on stairs in a dayroom threw an unidentified object at a passing officer, who choked and appeared to punch him. Other youths tried to break up the brawl before a second officer arrived.
Three officers took a youth to the floor as they escorted him to his cell. The officers remained on top of the boy until they had placed him in handcuffs.
When one youth acted as though he was trying to hang himself, a second juvenile rushed in to help. But officers thought he was acting aggressively, and one choked him while holding him against the stairway bannister.
» RELATED: How fear, politics forged Georgia's punitive juvenile laws
About the Author